Barcelona continued their winning ways with a thin 1-0 victory at Camp Nou against a tough Málaga side. With a good performance throughout, the Blaugrana confirmed their spot as league leaders despite only one goal. Don't be fooled by the score: it was a good game.
The best football referees are the ones you don't talk about. There was plenty of stuff to talk about the referee in the first half, which clearly shows he wasn't the best.
Barcelona started the half in the usual way: patient passing and plenty of movement to create chances. The team had some interesting moments on set pieces, and Luis Suárez almost got his second league goal when he headed home a corner-kick cross from Rakitic, but he pushed off his defender and the ref caught the foul.
Until the half-hour mark, Barça looked set to get a goal, but then they got nervous and the passing wasn't as accurate, with Lionel Messi relying too much on his lobs, that often hit the heads of Málaga defenders. Neymar had a very timid display, sticking too much to the left side and losing easy one-on-one duels against the opposition, but the one he did win resulted in a clear handball inside the box. No penalty given.
Then Suárez found himself with a good position inside the box, and was clearly fouled from behind by Angeleri. No penalty given.
After a few referee screw-ups that should have put Barça in the position to score, the half ended 0-0, but with a very encouraging performance from the hosts.
After a terribly officiated 45 minutes, Barça forgot the referee mistakes and came back to get goals and win. Neymar got into the game and was more accurate with his passes to Messi and Suárez. The whole MSN trio looked for each other more, switched positions and started opening spaces for themselves and the midfielders. Luis Enrique made a key substitution when Rafinha came on for Rakitic, and that added another attacking threat.
Barça attempted a lot more, and then goalkeeper Kameni started to become the star of the game, stopping shots from everyone. After a Luis Suárez cross, Kameni took another goal from Messi's plate, but the ball fell right into Thomas Veramelen, and the center-back played a beautiful half-volley shot to finally beat the keeper and get Barça's opening goal.
Another low-scoring game for the reigning champions, but the performance was way better than the scoreline, and the Blaugranes deserved a second straight victory.
Barcelona: Bravo; Roberto, Mascherano, Vermaelen (Mathieu), Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Rafinha), Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar (Sandro)
Goal: Vermaelen (73')
Málaga: Kameni; Rosales, Angeleri, Weligton (Albentosa), Torres; Horta (Juanpi), Recio, Tissone, Juan Carlos; Amrabat (Charles), Duje Cop